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ANAHEIM ANGELS

Placed CF Mike Colangelo on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 6/14
(torn thumb ligament); announced that INF Tim Unroe cleared
waivers, and selected his contract back from Edmonton; transferred CF
Jim Edmonds from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [6/16]

The only surprise is that Colangelo was hurt worse than expected in his
collision with Reggie Williams, and the Angels are still mired in the
ugly situation of having either Reggie Williams or Orlando Palmeiro in
the everyday lineup.


ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Placed LHP Greg Swindell on the 15-day DL (rib cage); purchased
the contract of LHP Ed Vosberg from Tucson. [6/16]

Not just any farm system can offer a 37 year old replacement to your
34 year old lefty setup man–not that either Vosberg or Swindell can
make 37 year old Dan Plesac feel like a spring chicken. Couldn’t the
Diamondbacks have found a more useful minor league free agent in the
off-season? Tucson only has minor league vets Joey Eischen and John
Cummings, and Vosberg’s outpitched both of them in his few weeks with
Tucson since being cut by the Padres (ten baserunners in 11.1 IP, 18
Ks). At least Buck Showalter will still have his two lefties in the
pen.


ATLANTA BRAVES

Acquired 2B Jose Cepeda from the Royals for RHP Marc
Pisciotta
. [6/18]

Cepeda isn’t a prospect (he’s going on 25, and has yet to get out of
A-ball), but Pisciotta is no prize either.


BOSTON RED SOX

Placed 2B Jeff Frye on the 15-day DL (sore knee); recalled
INF Lou Merloni from Pawtucket; activated LHP Brian
Barkley
from the DL, and optioned him to Sarasota. [6/17]

If anything, this is a slight improvement for the Red Sox. Frye
can’t really play a position other than second, and his offensive
skill is an adequate ability to get on base. Merloni can do that
plus offer slightly more sock, so he’ll be a more than adequate
replacement.


CINCINNATI REDS

Placed RHP Jason Bere on the 15-day DL (elbow, suckiness,
insert excuse du jour here); recalled RHP Rick Greene
from Indianapolis. [6/17]

The legend of Don Gullett takes a hit, but the real problem was
that Bere just wasn’t a project worth trying, and certainly not for
the money that Jim Bowden elected to spend on him. The results? A
6.85 ERA, and 56 hits and 40 walks in 43.1 innings. Bere’s ability
to come back was taken for granted; Gullett has been anointed as
some sort of miracle man, which inspired some pretty ludicrous
expectations, the worst of which was Selig mouthpiece/MLB
"historian" Jerome Holtzman’s comparison of Bere to
Christy Mathewson. This is still actually true: both men are
hominids who lived on the North American continent during the 20th
century. Rickey Greene has been pitching well at Indy, logging 8
saves. The dilemma for the Reds is what they want to do with their
rotation. The Villone experiment doesn’t seem likely to survive
July, which means the Reds may have to give serious thought to
picking up someone like Tom Candiotti, even with his 6.35 ERA and
11 homeruns allowed in 56.2 IP.


CLEVELAND INDIANS

Placed 3B Travis Fryman on the 15-day DL (lower back
spasms); recalled OF Alex Ramirez from Buffalo. [6/16]

Activated LHP Mark Langston from the DL; designated RHP
Dave Stevens for assignment. [6/17]

Claimed RHP Jeff Tam off of waivers from the Mets; signed
RHP Paul Menhart to a minor-league contract, and assigned
him to Buffalo. [6/18]

Fryman’s back problems are relatively old news, and the team
seems comfortable with the idea of letting Jeff Manto and
Enrique Wilson hold down the job in his absence. Where’s
überprospect Russ Branyan, you might ask? Still flashing
tremendous power, but struggling with the Mendoza line and
striking out in almost half of his at-bats. As much as I don’t fret
about strikeouts for a player, when a guy’s striking out half
the time, even I get concerned that there’s something wrong.

The callup for Alex Ramirez is essentially just to get some platoon
PAs with David Justice or Jacob Cruz. He was doing his usual
high average, good power, and poor strikezone judgment mix at
Buffalo (.308/.344/.496). As for claiming Jeff Tam or dumping
Dave Stevens, the decision to carry twelve pitchers keeps the
shuffle going, as the Indians sort of indolently sort through
guys like these or Rich DeLucia or Paul Wagner. Langston’s
presence effectively reduces the last place in the pen to a
celebrity roster spot, since he wasn’t fooling people at
Buffalo, and he isn’t going to fool many more in the majors.


KANSAS CITY ROYALS

Acquired RHP Marc Pisciotta from the Braves for 2B
Jose Cepeda. [6/18]

Cepeda had no future with the organization now that Carlos Febles
has the job pinned down for several years to come, and the danger
here is that the Royals are so desperate for relief help that
they might call for Pisciotta. "Cookies" has been
pitching badly at Richmond, racking up a 6.06 ERA while still
struggling with control problems. If the Royals are really this
hard up (and if Orber Moreno does end up going onto the DL),
they’re almost certainly better off taking a spin with Dario
Veras, or taking a look-see at Ken Ray or Lance Carter.


MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Activated SS Jose Valentin from the DL; optioned INF
Lou Collier to Louisville. [6/16]

This doesn’t really help the Brewers too much. Valentin has his
strengths (good power vs. RHPs, good glovework at short), but
any playing time he gets cuts into the playing time of two better
players (Mark Loretta, Ronnie Belliard), as well as chasing a
good utility infielder to Louisville. They could choose to
reinvestigate the idea of moving Valentin to center, especially
since Marquis Grissom is hurtling down the back slope of his
career. About the only other offensive improvement the Brewers
could make easily enough would be to give Richie Barker the
rest of the year at first, now that the Berry signing looks
like a failed temporary solution. Even so, these issues take
a back seat to the more fundamental problem that they’re using
Cal Eldred and Jim Abbott.


NEW YORK METS

Acquired RHP Mac Suzuki and a PTBNL from the Mariners
for LHP Allen Watson and cash. [6/18]

Let me get this straight: you sign a bad journeyman like Watson
in the hope he’ll pitch well. If he does, you can keep him
around, or maybe trade him to some desperate team for something
you can use. But the Mets get almost 40 useful innings out of
Watson, and turn him into… a guy who makes Pat Mahomes feel
he’s better than somebody else? Masato Yoshii’s road roommate?
Somebody who’ll make George Steinbrenner so jealous that he
forces Brian Cashman to call up Katsuhiro Maeda in a Big Apple
battle of Japanese scrubs? Okay, like almost any pitcher, Suzuki
will improve now that he isn’t subject to Mt. Piniella’s whims,
fits, tantrums, and eruptions. But he’s been bad in the minors,
bad in the majors, and there’s little reason to believe that he
won’t keep that up as a Met. The only up-side to this deal is
that the PTBNL might turn out to be somebody else under 30 that
Lou Piniella can’t use.


OAKLAND ATHLETICS

Announced that RHP Tom Candiotti cleared waivers and has
been given his unconditional release. [6/16]

Recalled RHP Brett Laxton from Vancouver; optioned 2B
Scott Spiezio to Vancouver. [6/18]

Laxton seems to have gotten a hold on the control problems that
beset him last year (29 walks in 69.2 IP, with a 3.75 ERA despite
only 2 HRs allowed), and with Jimmy Haynes, Mike Oquist, and
Gil Heredia all in danger of losing their jobs in the rotation,
a few good outings in long relief could be enough to get him a
shot at a start or two. As for Spiezio, with Tony Phillips (and
his defensive caddy, Jorge Velandia) swiping his playing time at
second, his future with the organization is effectively dead.
The future for the organization at second might be Jose Ortiz,
or more likely Esteban German, who might be the fastest player
in baseball, not to mention a guy who knows how to get on base.


ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Placed LHP Lance Painter on the 15-day DL, retroactive to
6/14 (shoulder strain); recalled RHP Curtis King from
Memphis; activated OF J.D. Drew from the DL, and optioned
him to Memphis. [6/17]

I’m just shocked to discover that yet another adequate Cardinals
reliever, in this case Lance Painter, got bumped into the rotation,
only to hurt himself. Boy, good thing that the Cardinals have the
twin towers of geniusdom in Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan from
keeping that sort of thing from happening more often than once
or twice a year… In Painter’s absence, the Cardinals will have
to tread very carefully. They could elect to move Manny Aybar or
Kent Mercker into the rotation, or they could take their chances
and call up Rick Ankiel. The dangers to Ankiel if he’s entrusted
to LaRussa and Duncan are potentially devastating, but in the short
term, he could be the difference between having a shot at the
wild-card or feeling good about finishing up somewhere around
.500. The decision to demote Drew gives no hint; if the Cardinals
really believe they’re better off running Willie McGee or Thomas
Howard out there, then they aren’t giving much thought to how much
better they can be by August if they just let Drew take his lumps
right now.


SAN DIEGO PADRES

Activated RF Reggie Sanders from the DL; optioned CF
Gary Matthews Jr. to Las Vegas. [6/18]

The interesting problem for the Padres with Sanders’ return is
whether or not it will lead to less playing time for Ruben Rivera.
Rivera has struggled all season long, and if they put Sanders in
center when he’s up to it, they can take advantage of John Vander
Wal’s hitting. Instead, they seem caught up on getting Eric Owens
playing time, so they’ve identified the opportunity, but have
missed out on who they should be giving it to. As famed as Vander
Wal is as a pinch-hitter, his offensive skills are good enough to
have him start against RHPs. As desperate as the Pads are for
offense, the benefits of scoring more runs over potentially having
a dangerous weapon late in the game seem obvious.


SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

Recalled C Doug Mirabelli from Fresno; placed C
Scott Servais on the 15-day DL (dislocated thumb).
[6/17]

Not really a setback for the Giants. Servais is no longer
a defensive asset, and while he’s still a useful backup,
Mirabelli’s a better hitter. He was off to a good start at
Fresno (.346/.429/.561 with 10 homeruns), and should be more
than up to handling platooning chores with Brent Mayne.


SEATTLE MARINERS

Acquired LHP Allen Watson and cash from the Mets for
RHP Mac Suzuki and a PTBNL. [6/18]

So does Watson go into the rotation for… Mel Bunch? Assuming
Jeff Fassero stays out of the rotation? Frankie Rodriguez and
John Halama have pitched well enough to be rotation regulars,
and Jamie Moyer and Freddy Garcia shouldn’t be in any danger from
anyone other than their manager. Suzuki’s no loss, but Watson’s
been a bad pitcher under better managers than Lou Piniella, and
isn’t a great bet to thrive now in any role. The danger for the
Mariners is that the PTBNL might be someone who can play baseball.
The best that can be said is that maybe Woody Woodward got the
cash in the form of some of these neat new quarters in a mad quest
to corner the market on the really neat ones from New Jersey.
Okay, that’s a bit unfair; Woody deserves a good amount of credit
for getting anything for Suzuki in the first place, and if the
PTBNL is only somebody like Charles Gipson, this is an okay little
deal for the Mariners.

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